SAN SEBASTIAN — Juan Antonio Bayona’s chiller “The Orphanage” has been adopted as Spain’s candidate in the foreign-language Oscar contest.
“Orphanage” figured in a three-film shortlist with Emilio Martinez-Lazaro’s Spanish Civil War true-life story “13 Roses” and Jose Luis Garci’s early 20th century rural drama “Luz de domingo.”
Produced by Rodar y Rodar and Telecinco Cinema, “Orphanage” was godfathered by Guillermo del Toro, the helmer of Oscar winner “Pan’s Labyrinth.”
Del Toro was creative supervisor on “Orphanage” with Rodar’s Joaquin Padro and Mar Targarona, and Telecinco’s Alvaro Augustin producing.
“Orphanage” toplines Belen Rueda (“The Sea Inside”) as a woman who takes over the orphanage where she was raised to open a home for disabled children. Then her young son begins to play with the same imaginary friend who terrorized her when she was a child.
Bayona’s directorial debut boasts a standout international career. Chiller was picked up by Picturehouse for U.S. distribution, and has been sold near on worldwide by France’s Wild Bunch.
Warner Bros. will release “Orphanage” in Spain on Oct. 11., while the U.S. release has been brought forward to Dec. 28.
New Line is in advanced negotiations for an English-language remake, with Del Toro attached to produce the Stateside version.